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THON Children Steal The Show In 2020 Kids’ Talent Show

It simply wouldn’t be THON without a Kids’ Talent Show.

Per THON tradition, the kids took the stage around 6 p.m. on Saturday to electrify the Bryce Jordan Center with a combination of athletic, musical, comedic, and artistic performances.

The first act at the show was a group of musical therapists from the Penn State Children’s Hospital performing some groovy acoustic tunes. The first song Tina, Jan, Devon, Brenna, and Four Diamonds families performed was a cover written by families and patients at the Hershey Medical Center, in which they replaced Imagine Dragons’ “Believer” with THON-themed lyrics.

“You dancing means that I can be a dreamer, a dreamer,” they sang.

Next up, best friends Sophia, Sarah, and Karis were joined onstage by Penn State women’s club basketball to perform an original dance to “Run Wild” by King & Country. The trio stole the show at the front of the stage while the team acted as backup dancers.

McKenna Speed was the next kid to perform, accompanied by the National Student Speed Language Hearing Association. Donning a cowgirl hat, she boogied on stage to “The Git Up” by Blanco Brown. Her smooth moves set to the combination of country and hip-hop had dancers grooving on the floor.

Connor Rowan had the BJC rockin’ next, joined onstage by Alpha Phi Omega fraternity members. They came running onstage to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us,” juicing up both dancers and THON-goers in the stands. Connor and his dance mates boogied up and down the stage, finishing near the front by throwing diamonds up to the crowd.

The next act was pretty electric, as Evan Ulsh performed a comedy set with friends from DASH (although Evan did most of the heavy lifting). He opened things up with an absolute kicker: “What is the most groundbreaking invention?… The shovel!” Incredible. Another crowd favorite from his set: “Why did Shakespeare’s wife leave him?… She was sick of the drama!” He finished his set with a big bow, a wave to the crowd, and a big ovation to boot.

Next up was Devin Pulaski, with help from Schuylkill Benefitting THON. Devin performed “The Greatest Show” with an entourage of groovy backup dancers from SBT. She absolutely hit the high notes near the end of her performance, warranting a much-deserved roar of approval from the THON crowd. Devin even wove her own dance moves into her performance!

Jackson Brennan was joined by his sisters, Phi Sigma Rho, and Alpha Phi Delta to groove out to Bruno Mars’ “24k Magic” on the saxophone. Despite some technical difficulties near the beginning of his performance, Jackson absolutely KILLED it up there. He even led a “We Are” chant at the end of his jazzy show, much to the enjoyment of the BJC.

Julia O’Toole captivated the audience next, with a little bit of help from Volé, Penn State’s dance company. Julia performed a ballet set to Ariana Grande’s “breathin’,” and had the BJC swaying to her moves.

Mina Horan was next up, and her performance was something special. She was joined by Phi Sigma Rho and Alpha Phi Delta. Prior to her performance, THON committee members handed out bracelets to people in the crowd, which lit up once she started singing. She was nervous to start, but with help from the THON crowd, she absolutely KILLED “Into The Unknown” from Frozen in front of a dazzling BJC.

Another “Frozen” performance followed Mina, as Alex Newcomb delivered a beautiful rendition of “Let it Go.” The BJC’s light-up bracelets were once again in full force during Alex’s performance, and she had the THON crowd swaying back-and-forth and belting out lyrics. She really had something special going in the BJC, hitting the high notes and getting a huge ovation.

Garrett Shover was next up, joined on stage by Sigma Tau Gamma and Gamma Sigma Sigma while performing “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco. Again, the light-up bracelets were dazzling the crowd during Garrett’s performance. The Nittany Lion even made an appearance on stage while Garrett kept the energy high.

Christopher Moore came through drippin’ onto the stage with Kappa Delta and Beta Sigma Beta, donning a gold chain and delivering a bittersweet rendition of “Memories” by Maroon 5. The lights in the stands blinked along with the swaying THON-goers, making for a great scene inside the Jordan Center.

“We’re gonna switch things up,” the captain said onstage. Buckle in. The next acts are set to be Four Diamonds teens and adults who have previously performed at THON, coming back get the BJC rockin’ one more time.

Josiah Garcia was up first, breakdancing to a remix of “Chain Hang Low” and EDM music. Josiah absolutely killed it, and the BJC was grooving along to his incredible moves.

Carly Wilfong took the stage next, joined by her friends and dedicating her song to all the families who have lost kids to cancer. Carly jump roped to “I Would” by One direction as the BJC sang along to the throwback hit. Carly, her friends, and the Nittany Lion were all movin’ and groovin’ up on stage.

Celia Cosentino was joined by the ultimate frisbee team next on the BJC’s stage. Celia bopped out on stage to “Live Like A Warrior” by Matisyahu, and had some nice choreography backup from the ultimate team.

Amarie Gerena took the stage next with her sisters Alexis, Alivia, and other friends from Atlas. Amarie performed Billie Eilish’s hit song “Bad Guy” while busting out some moves at the front of the stage. She closed things out with a “We Are” chant — an instant crowd success.


The last performance of the night was in honor of Joyce Oritz, who lost her battle to cancer in January. The captains played a video of her performing “Ice Ice Baby” at this year’s THON 5k event and emphasized her love for music. Some of her favorite folks from Zeta and ATO addressed the crowd, noting the incredibly positive impact Joyce had on the world and sharing some of their favorite memories. They played a handful of videos she had recorded, including a short message about her love for THON.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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